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Looking for the best chickens

I’ve put two of the three chicken areas on my land and secured them from foxes. Put some meat in to see if I could get a fox to break in and was rather perplexed when I found the meat gone but no sign of forced entry or exit. I’m guessing something smaller consumed the meat and left me clueless.

At this moment I’m trying to decide what chicken breeds to put in these two cages. I want to have eggs and meat from the both of them and am happy to have one for eggs and one for meat. I quite liked my Warrens for eggs but it seems they are a hybrid and thus I can’t get a cockerel for them. If I got a cockerel to cross breed with them then I can’t guarantee continuity from the eggs if the cockerel popped off. So I’m looking at what it means to have Warrens and will revisit them for the third cage.

The two I am looking at the moment are;

Rhode Island Reds
They are said to be good for Eggs and Meat being reasonably large birds that lay well. The cocks weigh in at 3.9kg with the hens at 2.9kg. Eggs weigh about 56g and about 300 a year are laid.

These are said to be good for meat being very large birds, weights have been recorded up to 8kg for cocks and 6kg for hens. Average weight is 5.5kg cocks and 4.5kg hens. They are heavy birds that are known as the King of Chickens. Eggs weigh about 55g to 60g and about 180 a year are laid.

As they are both pure breeds you can get cocks and hens that breed true and keep going with them.

In the meantime I’ll investigate what I can do with the warrens for when I install the third cage.

Next problem up is ducks. I want some ducks as well. I want Muscovy ducks and some Aylesbury ducks. Not a problem both are readily available but I’m puzzling over how to keep them. I could cage them but they need a lot of water. Not a problem as I have a pond but I’m wondering how to use the pond plus protect the ducks from foxes and prevent them escaping.

I have a few ideas about large cages that can overlap the pond but as the pond is currently emptying because of the heat I wonder how big a gap it will create. Certainly the ducks will escape, considering some chicken wire dipped into the pond a few feet to stop that but will the fox be able to enter by swimming under the wire?

Any thoughts on this? Chickens and/or ducks.

5 comments to Looking for the best chickens

  • Fred

    It’s definitely going to be a very loud plot of land there, what with all the wildlife and grandchildren.

  • Lightspeed

    Re meat disappearing: Rodents ferrets or stoat are likely culprits

    Re Ducks and Pond: Is the pond big enough to build an island in the middle to act as a safe roosting area for the birds overnight?

  • MaryN

    Well, SD, I absolutely love Brahmas and have had quite a few of them in my time. They are gentle, stately creatures. Just a couple of points…… you need a larger coop for them. Being quite a bit bigger than the usual chickens, say Warrens, they need a larger pophole and decent sized nesting boxes. They don’t lay as many eggs as the hybrids, but obviously they are a great size for meat birds. Also, the feathering on the feet can be a bit of a problem in winter because the feathers pick up mud and debris, and in icy/snowy weather a build up of ice/snow can accumulate. Otherwise, lovely birds.

    Best breeds for eggs I would say, Rhodies, Sussex or obviously the hybrids (Warrens, Golden Highline, Comets etc).

  • Fred

    Lightspeed and Mary – very good points, especially about the island.

  • Ysbryd

    Lightspeed, Fred…..sorry to tell you that foxes and rats are really strong swimmers. The effort of building an island or floating duck house would be wasted. 😞
    It would look nice though. 🙂

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